Efforts by the state to collect revenue to execute development projects seem to have suffered a major setback, following a well-rehearsed strategy by some clearing agents at the Tema Port to under-declare imported items.
The activities of one of these clearing agents (name withheld for now), has caused the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) to lose several millions of Ghana cedis in un-paid duties.
This rot is happening, despite the presence of a Presidential Taskforce that claims to have sealed avenues where revenue meant for the state leak out.
Though the Special Operations Unit (SOU) of the Customs Division of the GRA at the Tema Port is performing the same duties as the taskforce, the state revenue agency ‘has failed to notice’ the tricks being employed by the clearing agents.
The Chronicle investigations at the Tema Port revealed that declaration number 42013240995, with containers BMOU2171874, CMAU1124042, CMAU1581666, CMAU1644893, CMAU2099432, FCIU3598508, IPXU3233161, SEGU1115467, TEMU2086539 and TGHU0235050 of Vicco Malt Drink, was supposed to attract revenue of GH¢250,000 to the state, but the agent managed to pay GH¢52,000.
Whether this suspected thievery happened on the blind side of the state revenue collectors and the security agencies remains a puzzle that must be resolved.
The Chronicle established that ten containers of Vicco Malt Drink were brought into the country by a company called WHITELANE LIMITED last year March, was entered as water filter, and valued at GH¢105,367; Pure Joy Fruit Juice at GH¢42,150, and malt drink valued at GH¢42,150.
The Chronicle’s checks revealed that water filter is duty free, so it was made to replace the malt drinks to swell the number and evade duties. At the time of examination of this consignment, reports were going round that the containers were being kept under surveillance.
The officer in-charge of the examination, a certain Jane Frances Yirkpierre, and two others, rejected the containers, but the declaration was returned to the agent to re-enter the quantities and descriptions, citing wrong Customs Procedure Code (CPC), as the reason for re-routing the declaration for correction.
Incidentally, the same CPC was used, and the consignment changed to read – Ten Containers of Vicco Malt drink – which was cleared on permit.
The Chronicle’s investigations further revealed that even though 14 days is allowed for a declaration to be perfected and the outstanding duties paid, this case in question has since March 2013 remained outstanding.
Source: The Chronicle
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